It was the worst Easter I ever experienced.
Easter Eve and Easter Sunday both ended up an all wet affair in the Deep South, particularly where I grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
All of my plans were canceled on the count of heavy rain and thunderstorms, both Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
First, I planned to attend Alabama's Spring football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. I secured a media pass, perhaps, for the last time since we currently have a sportswriter at The Selma Times-Journal who will be attending Crimson Tide home games.
It rained three hours before kickoff and during the game, not an ideal situation for me. Not having the game televised sucked rotten eggs as ESPN sold its soul for the NBA. I guess ESPN forgot college football is a religion in the South.
The church, whom I had been attending all month for a Easter program countywide outdoors, got rained out. The Pastor, whom I became fast friends five month since arriving in Selma. Alabama, delivered a powerful sermon.
I did not sit by the woman, who I've been seeing since 2019, because we had a heated argument on Good Friday. It was over her mis-step on her daughter's performance and her mis-communication. Not that big a deal to me, but she blew it.
Oh well. Easter is over. We can look forward to Memorial Day.
March Madness is more than about basketball.
I must that this is the best my bracket has ever done whenever I decide to participate. Half of my Final Four can still win it all, but they play each other.
My national champion, Kansas, is headed to the Final Four, if the Jayhawks beat Miami on Sunday. I'm thinking about my friend, Sandra Marshall, a Kansas native and Jayhawk fan. I'm not if she's still alive, but enjoyed our friendship during the author run in the early 2010's.
The other pick, Villanova, punched their ticket to the national semifinals on Saturday. Oh well, I may get a national championship pick.
Back to the assorted March Madness. The regular job of mine at the newspaper where the press we print broke down and moved up our deadlines around lunchtime. Copy and pages were rushed, meaning the chances for mistakes increased.
The upper level don't understand, more concerned about a magazine on short notice with reluctant and unclear subjects.
I'm slowly fading out of the sports scene with the new person working his way into the grind of mixing news and sports. The new person arrived when basketball season, limiting our coverage to four live games by between December and March.
One person, an Administrator and head coach for one team that made the state tournament, bitched on Social Media of our no coverage. If the person asked, they would've known I was alone and already been promoted, meaning little time for prep hoops. Comparing me to a person who had a full staff, not one or two people. The person needed to do their research.
I reached out to the person when they made the Final Four and for all state picks, no calls were returned. The person apparently sent in nominations, but it failed because I'm on committee for area. Coaches in area nominate to me and I give to the committee.
All I heard was more bitching about those players on All County in wrong positions, called our newspaper trash and my picks meant nothing to them. I fired back, guess that surprised them, called me a sell-out and said I shouldn't go to basketball gyms here anymore. Told the person I go where I damn well please and at their school since they don't own it.
The remarks made the person sound like a political candidate about to lose badly in a race. None of my girls did name calling in high school, grew out of it in middle school. The direct messages with name calling was childish. Told the child about during her 17th birthday and she thought it was stupid.
Our new person wrote a column, ripping the person for not setting an example as a leader of the school and causing their own mistake. Resorting to character assassination and comparing me to a white employee whom I did not work with can be considered borderline racism.
I did not resort to name calling and served as the adult. I acted my age and not someone who seemed unhinged. A waste of time bitching about coverage for the second-best basketball team in the area when no one can cover every school.
Former students at the school said the complaints were paper cover their rival, the best team in the area.
Feel like I was in the 1971 legendary Brady Bunch episode, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia," instead insert the school name. My advice is simple: learn from your mistake, swallow your pride and do not repeat it next year.
Sports has dominated my life in its many forms. Baseball was my first love. Once thought I'd spent my teenage years in the outfield chasing fly balls and hitting them out of the park at the plate.
By the time I turned 13, football consumed my brain. I just wanted to watch the game on TV and play pick-up games with friends showcasing my strong arm throwing deep passes. I eventually played high school football as a short lineman who scored a touchdown.
I later translated those skills into a award-winning sportswriter and eventually Sports Editor during a stellar 26-year career.
I'm Managing Editor now who occasionally write sports. I'm going to step aside and limit my sports-writing because people complain about lack of coverage.
Since last Easter, I've been a one=man show for most of that span. At Christmas, I heard complaints about honorees not liking photos.
Since New Year's Day, I've gotten complaints about lack of basketball coverage. I went to a few games, but that was not enough.
Two of our teams, from the same school, reached the state tournament. We are only a two-person newsroom and can't afford to go. People know that from their fanbase, but don't seem to care.
I've always said this: "Barack Obama becoming President changed things for the worse among African-Americans. Black people think they're entitled to something special."
It's sickening where I live now. Racism is out of control. Some deserved, a lot undeserved. Love the area, not all of it.
The New Year hasn't been kind to yours truly.
One of the teams I grew rooting for, Alabama Crimson Tide, was hammered in the national championship game in football. While I expected the Tide to fall short of repeating, it still stung. Anyone who knows me will tell you I eat, drink and sleep football.
The biggest blunder is being without my cellphone since January 8. It sucks when the insurance after paying the deductible jerks you around.
Everyday since last Saturday working to no end getting nowhere. The non-American company gets the address wrong and blame you. This is why I stayed American on cars for years.
The one thing about not being married, the X and her mother, would've laid the smack down without breaking a sweat.
Where was former First Lady Michelle Obama when I needed her? Definitely needed a strong black woman in this situation.
No phone prevents me from doing my job, I've really lost faith in people and companies. Especially when a woman you have a major attraction to, lets you down. It may be time to plant roots in another area.
Christmas has gotten better over the last few years.
For the fourth straight year, I've been able to spend the holiday in my hometown without taking vacation time.
Christmas Eve is reserved for one of the girls, who doesn't want anyone to come between us. She's 16 and smart and gives her wish list in September, giving me enough time to save money for a fancy laptop with insurance in case things go bad.
It was immediate family for Christmas Day, more my style. The only negative was my brother being sidelined with a hand contusion to keep from working from an accident caused by someone else. I'm praying for a quick recovery and provide financial assistance.
I've been in his shoes, but marriage was my pain in the ass. Fourteen years ago, she decided a day before New Year's Eve that we should split. It took me a few years to get back into the holiday spirit.
Some things never change. The woman, whom I'm interested in, is playing mind games. She thinks I want to propose marriage. I just want a girlfriend.
The way I see it, she don't want to share me with the area, since I am the newspaper's top editor. If one of my screenplays get made, she think I'll leave. Give me a reason to stay, I won't leave.
Oh well. at least Christmas was good.
Revisiting old memories from the past can be a good thing. Especially when it involves one of your closest friends.
Friday night, my elementary, junior high and high school days all hit me at once. While covering a high school football game for The Selma Times-Journal, an old friend greeted me at midfield. Richard Allen, whom I met as fourth-graders at Cottondale Elementary School, was one of the referees at the Southside-Bayside Academy playoff game.
Richard told me a week ago that he was assigned to officiate the game. At a time in my life where things have gone wacko, it was great to see him.
We grew up in an era where there was no internet, social media. Facebook and Twitter were in a galaxy far, far away. Our news came from newspapers, radio ad TV stations.
For three hours on the evening of November 4, 2019, Richard and I had a chance to revisit those memories where things were cheaper.
Another birthday has arrived for yours truly. This one is number 52. I was born on Saturday, October 18, 1969 at 4:44 a.m. at Druid City Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
For years, excitement used to shiver down the spine of mine every October 18th. A smile was often planted on my face the entire day.
I'll give the X credit. For the first 10 years we were together, she always assembled a steak dinner at a restaurant with her parents, sisters and their spouses, maybe a pair of couples. Presents (usually from her) and a cake followed.
I appreciated that. The last two years we split and in that time, I stopped eating her cooking.
Until I turned 18, my mother had a cake and cooked my favorite dish. Cash from a few relatives usually followed.
I am a simplistic person. Having someone think of me in small doses usually work in the form of food and cake.
I have nearly 3,000 friends on my personal Facebook page and I can't get 1/10 or 300 to wish me happy birthday. A few years back, the highest ever was 420.
It's one of the downfalls of being single, particularly when the love interest doesn't make an effort to make things happen (Another woman may end up 'stealing' me away someday, but that's a story for another day).
In recent years, I often celebrate my birthday on another day with a steak dinner. I often work on my birthday and the 2021 version is no different.
I may try to celebrate Tuesday out of town if I can get off at a reasonable time and buy myself a book. Odds aren't good with that, when you're working with a disabled person who slows down work for several hours and can't get out of their own way.
October 18, 2021 is another birthday edition for me. It might turn out like the Bangles' 1986 hit, another "Manic Monday." We shall see.
Labor Day weekend is always a fun time for me.
It's the opening of college football season. Returning to the state of Alabama, I get to follow the Crimson Tide exclusively.
Between 1992 and 2017, when I worked at The Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald, it was not as enjoyable as it is now. Co-workers were either alumni of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, a Georgia and Florida one here and there.
Whenever Alabama was on TV and I watched and from their reaction, you'd thought I was an alien from Mars or Saturn.
One person who worked in another department and a former Ole Miss football player used to walk in the newsroom made one of the dumbest remarks I ever heard.
"I'm always rooting against Alabama because Governor George Wallace wouldn't let that sister go to class," the person said.
While others exploded into laughter. I stared deeply into the person's beady eyes and shook my head. The ignoramus played at Ole Miss, where the school constantly waves the Rebel flag. Guess the person never saw the movie Mississippi Burning.
We all remember the Civil Rights Movement began in Selma, where I currently work. The Magnolia state played its role in cross burning and treating black people like shit.
I worked under a person who was a diehard Mississippi State fan. If it didn't involve cowbells, the person wasn't interested. (Not even for a future Pro Football Hall of Fame QB named Brett Favre). The other MSU person who had a temper hotter than a summer day in Alabama was not much better.
A former co-worker once said LSU fans and Mississippi State are the most misinformed group ever and I couldn't agree more.
LSU fans put out the dumbest rumors about Nick Saban leaving there to coach the Miami Dolphins: "He caught cheating and his wife told to leave LSU or she divorce him."
Once Saban got to Alabama, the LSU fans obsession went overboard.
I did a sample test question at a LSU Gulf Coast alumni meeting for 20.
Question: If Nick Saban was still the coach at Alabama, how many would still love him?
Answer: All 20 raised their hands.
Question: The six trophies at Alabama under Saban, how many of you think they should be in Baton Rouge?
Answer: All 20 raised their hands.
It's not my fault these teams can't beat Alabama.
Facebook brings back those memories, which is why I don't log in on Saturdays. Thank God that fans don't run these teams.
At least where I am now is between Alabama and Auburn, although the Crimson Tide enjoys a comfortable margin.
Former Auburn coach Pat Dye said it best: "Auburn could win four straight national titles, Alabama will always be the dominant program."
I've lived in Selma, Alabama for the last three years, several miles away from hurricanes and tropical storms.
During a 26-year journalistic career with The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi, names like Ivan, George and Katrina are forever locked inside my head.
Thought I was done with hurricanes.
Not so fast.
Last year, Hurricane Zeta roared through the Black Belt and damaged buildings in Selma and knocked off power for three days during Halloween week.
Sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina stamped itself in my life, Hurricane Ida may leave a mark.
Co-workers are obsessed with Ida, as if they resided on the Coasts of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi and in the danger of losing their homes.
The Black Belt won't be impacted by Ida, except heavy rainstorms and possible tornadoes over the next three days.
In this area, we're used to tornadoes and flooding roads.
I've got a Pulitzer as part of The Sun Herald's coverage of Katrina in 2006. While I am proud of the honor, I rarely discuss that unless people ask me.
I don't mind. It's part of my life on the Gulf States, where I don't live anymore.
I've been in the newspaper business for 29 years and one of my goals was realized last week.
I was named Managing Editor of The Selma Times-Journal. When I became a reporter at The Biloxi Sun Herald in 1992, my ambition was to move up the newspaper chain.
While several of my contemporaries quickly became editors within the first 10 years of their careers, I remained at the same spot.
Doubts began to pop inside my head. In 2014, I finally moved up and became Sports Lede (Sports Editor) at the Sun Herald.
Four years later, I got laid off and eventually landed at The Selma Times-Journal as News Editor. I got promoted three years later. Once I clean up the mess the person I'm replacing, I'll be able to navigate a direction alongside my successor.
The other dream of mine is becoming a working screenwriter, a difficult task. I'll continue to pursue that impossible goal.
JK Jones' writing career began as a junior at Holt High in 1986 as as Sports Editor of the Purple Reign, the school's newspaper until graduating in 1988. It opened the door to a long and successful sports writing career. As an author, several of Jones' E-books were best sellers. Jones has shown promise during the early stages of screenwriting. Jones' short screenplay, Instant Replay, was accepted by the Cannes Latitude Film Festival in 2016. Jones' most recent screenplay, False Start, was selected to the Chihuahua International Film Festival in November, 2019. For more information, visit https://www.scriptrevolution.com/profiles/jk-jones.